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Air Force officials release Predator accident report

9/22/2009 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFNS) -- An MQ-1 Predator flying a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom lost contact with its ground control station and presumably crashed in a forward operating area May 13, according to an Air Combat Command accident investigation board report released Sept. 22 here.

The Predator, assigned to the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., did not return to its forward operating base after contact was lost.

The aircraft was not recovered and no crash site has been located. The aircraft loss is valued at approximately $3.9 million.

During the sortie, the aircraft lost its return link -- a data transmission capability from the aircraft to the ground control station. Attempts to re-establish the return link were unsuccessful.

The accident investigation board president could not determine the cause of this mishap, but he did find sufficient evidence to determine the mishap was not caused by weather, icing, aircrew performance or qualifications, fuel starvation or maintenance discrepancies.

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